How ASICS made the world’s comfiest trainers

We reckon so, anyway. And so do some of Paris and London’s finest hairstylists, barbers and braiders, who took the new GEL-QUANTUM 360™ VIIIs for a spin to prove it.

Working on your feet all day isn’t for the faint of heart. As anyone who’s had to put in eight hours (or more) on their feet can attest, comfort isn’t something you can afford to go without. Most of the time, it’ll be your highest priority, especially when it comes to footwear. Style is an added bonus.

Enter: a pair of ASICS GEL-QUANTUM 360™ VIIIs, which doesn’t compromise on any of the above. As a brand, ASICS has been at the forefront of footwear innovation for 75 years, but this might just be their most comfortable trainers yet. Coming in three new colourways – crisp white, hot pink and black, and khaki with a splash of purple – the shoe’s Division Space Gel™ technology provides extra lightweight cushioning, with a focus on durability and style. How’s that for softening the blow of a long shift?

Plus, while staying on the go for the whole day can be knackering, it’s good for your mood. It’s why ASICS’ mantra is Sound Body, Sound Mind” – capturing the positive impact movement has on our mental health. Sure, you might not appreciate it at the time when you’re putting in a gruelling shift or running errands; but supercharging your step count leaves your soul feeling as bouncy as those GEL soles, calming you down and lifting you up.

To put the GEL-QUANTUM 360™ VIIIs to the test, we headed to East London and Paris to catch-up with some of our favourite hairstylists. After all, hairdressers, on average, put in three times more steps than the average person. That’s on top of having to maintain great chat and looking good while giving you the chop of a lifetime. We can’t imagine anyone better placed to give these shoes a serious test run…

Medin, Best Gents, London

Growing up in Adana, a city in Southern Turkey, Medin is now based in Hackney. Since I was a child, I’ve always enjoyed hair, from my own to other people’s,” he says. I like to give people the confidence a new look brings. That’s what drove me to be a barber.”

Describe your practice in three words…

Detail, etiquette, care.

What’s your favourite thing about your job?

The look on the face of a happy customer.

What’s your favourite topic to talk about with customers?

It’s a tie between football and discussing current affairs… Broad, I know, but in my practice I have time for all types of topics!

Talk us through a typical work-day outfit.

Jeans and a good sweater. I love trainers, too, so I’d wear a pair of ASICS to go with that.

What’s one item you’ve got to have on you at all times?

The shop key, of course.

Jem, Haco Hair, London

Originally from Devon, Jem has lived in London since she was 17. She first moved to the city in pursuit of a job as a make-up artist, before falling in love with hairdressing while working as an assistant in a salon. Shortly after coming out, I spent my weekends in East London’s queer club scene,” she says. I developed my clientele naturally, and the rest is history.”

What does your typical day look like?

Every part of my day looks so different. In the morning, I could have a young teen getting their first gender affirming haircut. Afterwards, I could have one of my clients’ mums, then a client whose hair I’ve been doing for five years. Complementary therapy, hugs, lots of coffee, laughs, and once in a blue moon, happy tears.

What’s your favourite topic to talk about with customers?

Dating gossip. I love a wild story – give me something juicy to spice up my day!

Talk us through a typical work-day outfit.

Sweats and a ton of jewellery. A mix of sporty and chic, always monotone – never colour.

How would you best describe your hairdressing style?

Freakish, queer, out of the ordinary, sometimes chic, sometimes fashion, always cunt.

What’s one thing people get wrong about hairdressing?

There’s a big misconception that hairdressers aren’t smart. We are entrepreneurs, content creators, business owners, accountants, artists, scientists, mathematicians and therapists. The list goes on.

Chris, Santa Mari Juanna Lab, Paris

For Chris, hairdressing is a skill she’s been learning since she was a little kid growing up in Congo. It only became her vocation, however, as a result of lockdown, when she properly” learned how to braid and develop her own style. I enrolled at a hairdressing school, started working in salons, and here we are!” she says.

Describe your practice in three words…

Soft, attentive and effective.

What inspires you, day-to-day?

The unknown, and the sense of surprise that comes with meeting new clients every day and sharing our ideas with each other.

What’s your favourite topic to talk about with customers?

Africa! It comes up often because people usually ask me where I learned how to braid hair.

Talk us through a typical work-day outfit…

A baggy T‑shirt – I need to feel good and like I can move freely. And a great pair of trainers.

How do you think that hairdressing fosters community?

Braids are a cultural symbol that are both practical but also have deep historical roots. People choose to have braids for lots of different reasons – to reconnect with their roots, because they’re comfortable to wear or because it’s a protective style. In that sense, braiding is born from a sense of community, and it’s so important to remember its history.

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